With the advent of social media and the introduction of the camera phone, it is now easier than ever to share photos with friends and acquaintances – whether that be picturesque shots of scenery, wefies taken with key people in our lives, or just a simple #OOTD (outfit of the day) shot. Our lives are abuzz with beautiful pictures from different social media platforms.
Photographs on social media help us to connect with other people, while at the same time generate conversations that we may not otherwise have. Photographs can be newsworthy, plain silly, or completely cringe-worthy. In this article, we’ll discuss how social media has changed the course of photography, both at the level of individual social media users and influencers and at a corporate level, where companies make use of photographs and other multi-media tools to engage its customers on social media.
The blogging boom
Before the boom of social media giant Facebook in the late 2000s, many people turned to online blogs to record and share their feelings and experiences. A blog post typically consisted of text and – you guessed it – photos. Photos help to spice up a blog post tremendously. So much so that every hit blogger had to commit themselves to taking a few photos for each post. This was the time that bloggers like Xia Xue turned into a big hit, and Singaporeans realised that there was money to be made off advertising if you could get enough viewers to your own blog. At this stage, photographs of sponsored products, day-to-day events and even big celebrations such as birthdays and weddings became an integral part of the internet.
Rise of Facebook
Facebook truly rose as the social media powerhouse in 2010. With free accounts for all users, endless interactions with friends, and the ability to meet new ones, what’s not to like? The rise of Facebook resulted in an even easier time posting and sharing our own photos online. Now, instead of having to follow a blog’s RSS Feed and click on links to read posts and view photos, everything can be done within one application, and through a single scroll. We give likes to indicate interest and support of our friends’ photographic ventures. We comment when we see something in the photo worth talking about. We share these photos with other people when they make us laugh, feel angry or sad.
Photos have become more important than ever in our daily lives – in fact, Facebook now prioritises photo posts over text posts on your News Feed, which means the beautifully taken selfie may take priority over the funny jokes on text. The other key player in making photos so widespread and accessible is Instagram, which is similar to Facebook, but with a much more streamlined UI for quicker viewing of photos.
Images as a marketing tool
Social media has also been great for businesses as a way to reach out to their own target consumers. As photos are constantly being viewed, business branding in posts by companies and social media influencers can greatly bring about brand awareness. In Singapore, instant photo booths are even making use of this when uploading photos onto Facebook: corporations who hire corporate photo booths in Singapore are able to have photos immediately uploaded onto Facebook and the sharing can begin instantaneously.
Social media platforms even invite corporations to fork in a small advertising dollar for their photos to be shown to selected audiences, which could, in turn, lead to purchases for their business.
Photography has grown to be a widespread phenomenon, which is very different from the expensive hobby that it was 30 years ago, thanks to the constant evolution of social media and the internet. Future technology such as Augmented Reality could make photos play an even more important and crucial role in the way we socialise with others. To see the effect of a photo for yourself, snap a picture and post it online. Be ready to see likes, comments and other forms of social interaction slowly seeping in.